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Zenovich plans Polanski follow-up documentary

Films Distribution will handle international sales (outside the US) on Marina Zenovich’s follow-up to her hot-button Roman Polanski documentary, Roman Polanski : Wanted And Desired.  

Films Distribution will handle international sales (outside the US) on Marina Zenovich’s follow-up to her hot-button Roman Polanski documentary, Roman Polanski : Wanted And Desired.  

Zenovich had been working on a short piece to complement the 2008 film – which uncovered questionable judicial conduct in Polanski’s 1977 underage sex case – and had secured an agreement from Polanski to be interviewed for the next film.

That interview was scheduled for November 2009 but when the director was arrested in Switzerland in September, the interview was no longer possible and Zenovich’s follow-up project became much bigger.

Film Distribution’s Nicolas Brigaud-Robert says what was once a documentary has now become “a drama unfolding before us.” Indeed, Zenovich told Screen the film had now turned into a “geopolitical thriller.”

Zenovich has filmed and conducted interviews in such spots as Germany, Switzerland, France and the US and is editing as she shoots in an effort to have the film ready once Polanski’s fate is decided.

Since Polanski’s arrest in September, the story has played out in an increasingly dramatic arc: the artistic community had initially been outraged at his arrest within the context of his trip to receive an award at a Swiss Film Festival and hearings have been taking place both in the US and Switzerland as the former vies to have the director extradited and the latter weighs its moves carefully suffering as it has from a year of bad PR related to its banking practices. On Monday this week, a judge in a Los Angeles hearing denied Polanski’s request to unseal testimony about the sentencing plan in the original case. It had been hoped by the director that he would be able to use the testimony from retired prosecutor Roger Gunson to help fight his extradition.

In December of last year, Polanski was moved from a Swiss prison and allowed to remain under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad. He had remained silent until he recently spoke out about his situation in a blog posting on Bernard-Henri Levy’s Website.

In that posting, he referred to Zenovich’s first documentary, a film in which he did not participate, that he said “not only highlighted the fact that I left the United States because I had been treated unjustly; it also drew the ire of the Los Angeles authorities, who felt that they had been attacked and decided to request my extradition from Switzerland, a country I have been visiting regularly for over 30 years without let or hindrance.”

Zenovich remains neutral in the treatment of her subject but does say that it’s been “shocking” to see “the fundamental differences of opinion on the legal side and in the blogosphere.”

“When he got arrested suddenly the movie became a geopolitical thriller in the sense that it involves Switzerland, the US, France and Poland. I’m chronicling what’s happened piece by piece and I want to see the story to the end. By default, I’ve become part of the story - but I’m just trying to find the truth in all of this.”

Zenovich has not been in direct touch with Polanski since his arrest but says she hopes to talk with him once the situation is resolved.

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